When We Can Head Home...
More on this later...
Politics and Free Thought at the Eclipse of Reason
The perfect solution was hinted at by President Jalal Talabani on his last trip to Washington, several weeks before Rep. Murtha spoke up. He said he looked forward to the day when American troops could be withdrawn, and he said so plainly enough for the White House to issue a slightly nervous clarification about "deadlines." Iraq is not "occupied" by men like Talabani: He is a true son of the country and used to be a genuine insurgent at the head of an authentic peoples' army. It would be wonderful if an elected Iraqi government and parliament—which is thinkable after this December—took the decision to thank the coalition and to invite it to fold its tent and depart. But anyone who thinks that this would stop the madness of jihad need only look at Afghanistan, where a completely discredited and isolated minority continues to use suicide-murder as a tactic and a strategy. How strange that the anti-war left should have forgotten all of its Marxism and superciliously ignored the fact that oil is blood: lifeblood for Iraqis and others. Under Saddam it was wholly privatized; now it can become more like a common resource. But it will need to be protected against those who would shed it and spill it without compunction, and we might as well become used to the fact. With or without a direct Anglo-American garrison, there is an overwhelming humanitarian and international and civilizational interest in defeating the Arab Khmer Rouge that threatens Mesopotamia, and if we could achieve agreement on that single point, the other disagreements would soon disclose themselves as being of a much lesser order.Now I have to say Chris leaves out one thing concerning Iraq's oil. If the U.S. and the Iraqi government do win, there won't be Iraqi oil, there'll be U.S. multinational corporate control of Iraq's oil, with the benefits mainly sucked up by the Iraqi elite and U.S. oil companies. Nevertheless, that doesn't invalidate his argument one iota.
The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide.Naturally, his speech ended with a standing ovation at the University of Toronto. And people say the Bush Administration isn't part of the "reality based community."
I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something.The air up there is thin, eh. As the likes of Mike Myers, Colin Mochrie, John Candy, and the Kids in the Hall attest, Canadians are very skilled at one thing: Making Americans laugh.
All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
They'll be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all god's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
Well they call him by the prince of peace
And they call him by the savior
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worshipped in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgment
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.
Although Arbenz and his top aides were able to flee the country, after the CIA installed Castillo Armas in power, hundreds of Guatemalans were rounded up and killed. Between 1954 and 1990, human rights groups estimate, the repressive operatives of sucessive military regimes murdered more than 100,000 civilians.Guatamala was in a sense a giant torture house where leftists, Communist sympathizers, and peasants were tortured, murdered, or "disappeared." While there is no doubt all this occurred, the NYTs reports today that finally we might know the extent of the atrocities.
The reams and reams of mildewed police documents, tied in messy bundles and stacked from floor to ceiling, look on first sight like a giant trash heap. But human rights investigators are calling it a treasure hidden in plain sight.Yet there is much to be cynical about, despite recent history of grave human rights abusers -- Milosevic, Pinochet, Hussein and hopefully one day Kissinger -- being held responsible for their crimes against humanity. As Guatmalan historian Heriberto Cifuentes sardonically put it:
In Guatemala, a nation still groping for the whole truth about decades of state-sponsored kidnapping and killing, the documents promise a trove of new evidence for the victims, and perhaps the last best hope for some degree of justice.
"Impunity reigns in Guatemala," he said. "So whether there are documents or not, people responsible for crimes do not expect to pay for them. They have always enjoyed blanket immunity."And so as the old saying goes, "No Justice, No Peace." Yet as I grow older and learn more, I look pitifully at such sayings, because for far too many vicitms and their families, there is never justice, only perpetual peace through death.
Unlike intelligent design, for which the evidence is zero, malignant design has tons of empirical evidence, much more than Darwinian evolution, by some criteria: the world's cruelty.Think about it. A global AIDs pandemic, the threat of Avian flu, children afflicted with the most painful, horrendous debilitating diseases. If your God created these things, well let me just say, you can have him. How could a God that is ostensibly benevolent and all-powerful allow such suffering in his beloved creatures, espcially when it's not their fault? And if he didn't, well how powerful is he then?
On October 1, 2002, Tenet produced a declassified NIE. But Graham and Durbin were outraged to find that it omitted the qualifications and countervailing evidence that had characterized the classified version and played up the claims that strengthened the administration's case for war. For instance, the intelligence report cited the much-disputed aluminum tubes as evidence that Saddam "remains intent on acquiring" nuclear weapons. And it claimed, "All intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons and that these tubes could be used in a centrifuge enrichment program"--a blatant mischaracterization. Subsequently, the NIE allowed that "some" experts might disagree but insisted that "most" did not, never mentioning that the DOE's expert analysts had determined the tubes were not suitable for a nuclear weapons program. The NIE also said that Iraq had "begun renewed production of chemical warfare agents"--which the DIA report had left pointedly in doubt. Graham demanded that the CIA declassify dissenting portions.Do reports like these excuse the Senate for signing off on a war that was peddled under false pretenses? No, but they place an even greater share of the accountability for the war onto the Bush Administration.
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.This is the point in the post where I typically interject some smart-ass comments ridiculing my subject, but when it comes to making Pat Robertson look bad, nobody does it better than Pat Robertson.
All eight Dover, Pa., school board members up for re-election were defeated Tuesday after trying to introduce "intelligent design" — the belief that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power — as an alternative to the theory of evolution.
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club.
For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists. Why? Because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium.Today, WaPo reports that fewer inmates have been receiving the ultimate price for their crimes: Death.
The ranks of people sentenced to death and the number executed declined in 2004 as the nation's death row population kept shrinking, the government reported yesterday.Naturally, the statistic has renewed arguments as to whether the death penalty is a deterrant to others that contemplate murder as an option. One proponent of death argued:
"There are less murders, less murder victims and less death sentences because, in our view, we have been giving this problem the right medicine," said Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento.That medicine is hard to swallow for me, not only because it's unfeeling, but because it's most likely very wrong.
Launching a White House offensive to counter growing criticism of the war effort, Bush told soldiers and civilians that Democrats should reassure American troops that the nation stands behind them rather than revive a divisive debate over the war's origins.I’m curious as to what “story” Bush is reading about the origins of the War. One of the highlights of the story I read featured then Secretary of State Powell in front of the United Nation explaining how a small vial of deadly chemical compound could wipe out a city block or two. Bush reminded his audience that “intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessments of Saddam Hussein,” but I remember the United State going to war with a Coalition of the Willing that was marked by heavy representation from nations in the Pacific Islands and a conspicuous absence of First World powers.
"While it is perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the story of how that war began," Bush said in a Veterans Day address inside a military warehouse at Tobyhanna Army Depot in northeast Pennsylvania.
Bush did not respond directly to criticism that the intelligence that Saddam Hussein was seeking to develop nuclear and other unconventional weapons was wrong.
Rather, he said that others, including Democrats who are now highly critical of his decision to invade Iraq, had cited that same intelligence in announcing their support for the war in 2003.
The statement, signed by group spokesman Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, said the four included a woman ''who chose to accompany her husband to his martyrdom.''Does this means she gets 72 virgin men upon arrival in paradise? Which as any woman would certainly tell you is a curse, since she'd be reverting back to the days when the man had no clue what he was doing. Let's just say girls attest that guy virgins are just not that good. And certainly who wants 72 clawing at her. But it's nice to know a woman would kill herself for an ideology that inimically hostile to her.
''Al-Zarqawi, you are a coward! Amman will remain safe!'' chanted 3,000 protesters who marched through the capital, past its al-Husseini Mosque after midday prayers.If Zarqawi continues to employ these tactics, he might just provoke a backlash against his movement. Muslims, like everyone else, don't like to fear going to a wedding reception or staying at a Days Inn. And I'm sure they don't like being killed in the name of there own religion as well.
tore through the lobby of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, hit a wedding party at the Radisson SAS Hotel down the street, and exploded at the Days Inn Hotel, all within minutes. The largest number of victims were at the Radisson wedding, where numerous Jordanian notables were in attendance.In Baghdad:
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a restaurant frequented by Baghdad police...The bombers struck at about 9:45 a.m., when officers usually stop by the restaurant for breakfast. Police Maj. Abdel-Hussein Minsef said seven police officers and 26 civilians were killed in the blast and 24 others injured, among them 20 civilians.Again, if any of you harbor any sympathy for these jackals in a wretched of the earth sort of misplaced liberal guilt sort of way, here's an Al-Qaeda statement claiming responsibility:
Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attacks, and the terror group's Web posting linked the deadly blasts to the war in Iraq.It's telling to look at this quote. It essentially attacks Jordan for being liberal in the Western sense of the word. Extrapolating, the terrorists are pure and we are filthy. I hope the dirt forever stains our hands then.
The Al Qaeda claim, which could not be independently verified, said Jordan became a target because it was "a backyard garden for the enemies of the religion, Jews and crusaders ... a filthy place for the traitors ... and a center for prostitution," according to The Associated Press.
Still, don't book a flight to Detroit just yet. The schedule gets tough in the second half and they have yet to pull away in their surprisingly difficult division.The next five weeks will be tough as the Giants play the Eagles twice, the seemingly playoff bound Seahawks, Bill Parcell's Cowboys, and the inept Vikings. So the Giants must take one away from the Owens-less Eagles, must beat Dallas, and must destroy Culpepper-less Vikings next week. But if you know the Giants, they have a tendency to play down to the level of bad teams.
President Bush has claimed broad power to conduct the war against al Qaeda and said that questions about the detention of suspected terrorists, their interrogation, trial and punishment are matters for him to decide as commander in chief.The interesting wrinkle in the whole thing is that this case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, is this same one Roberts decided as a member of the DC Circuit Court. Roberts and two other judges overturned a district court ruling that had stopped Hamdan’s military tribunal. Now that the case has made it to the Supreme Court, Roberts will have to recuse himself, leaving the remaining 8 justices to decide Hamdan’s fate. If the justices split 4 and 4 on this one (a definite possibility if Alito is on the bench) the ruling of the Circuit Court will stand, meaning Hamdan’s tribunal can continue. But, as the Post article notes, a split decision “would not create binding legal precedent,” leaving the issue of tribunals for suspected terrorist open for future challenge.
But the court's announcement that it would hear the case of Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, shows that the justices feel the judicial branch has a role to play as well. The court has focused on whether Bush has the power to set up the commissions and whether detainees facing military trials can go to court in the United States to secure the protections guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions.
The justices have chosen to intervene at a sensitive time for the Bush administration. The Senate is mounting its first sustained challenge to the administration's claim that it alone can determine what interrogation methods are proper for detainees. The United States has come under fire after disclosures that the CIA has been interrogating suspects at secret "black sites" in Eastern Europe.
All of that will be in the background as the court considers a case that will turn on its view of whether the other branches of government can and should permit the executive branch to make all the rules in the battle against al Qaeda.
Any critique of realism has to begin with a sober assessment of the horrors of peace.I think that's fundamentally accurate. Who today would say we shouldn't have stopped the Holocaust or the Rwandan killing fields? (I don't include the Kurds or the Cambodians in this estimation because we had much to do with each groups' slaughter indirectly.)Sometimes war is the only option and it's a favorable one at that. Furthermore, it should be legally codified in international law that whenever a conflict reaches genocidal proportions that the Security Council must act. That said, it will never happen because, well, one of the members of Security Council would surely veto that law, particularly the United States.
One of France's largest Islamic groups issued a fatwa against rioting after officials suggested Muslim militants could be partly to blame for violent protests scarring poor neighbourhoods around the country.More evidence that revealed religion and its interpretation by "clerics" can be used to support or discredit almost anything -- maybe even in the same breathe -- however noble or contemptuous.
The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) quoted the Koran and the Prophet Mohammad to back up the religious edict condemning the disorder and destruction the unrest caused.
In 2002 the company sent Lynn to Central America, in a new position in which he was to report on any abusive labor practices he came upon in the factories that make the clothes Wal-Mart puts on its shelves. Lynn was shocked: He discovered factories whose fire doors were padlocked from the outside, and where women workers were fired if they turned up pregnant. Lynn firmly believed that his reports to the home office would lead to improvements. Indeed, he believed he was doing just what the company expected of him, right up to the moment when he was fired.According to Harold Meyerson's profile Lynn was an exceptional employee that had scorched up Wal-Mart's ladder to prominence. So what could he have done to get himself fired? Here's a lenghty segment from the article:
Lynn's inspection visits left him stunned. The night he visited Glory Garments, he called his wife and wept. He called Bentonville and complained. He shot reports back to the home office. He assumed things would change. Instead, Lynn soon found that the company was more alarmed by the existence of his reports than by the substance of them. He traveled to Bentonville to report his findings to Denise Fenton, Wal-Mart's director of factory certification -- who promptly instructed him in some of the finer points of certification policy. "First," Lynn recalls, "you can only interview 30 people [per factory]. If you get to the 29th and 30th and discover stuff, it doesn't matter -- you have to stop. Second, even though Wal-Mart says they want unannounced inspections, we had to notify the factories in advance. If there were any blatant violations, they had the opportunity to clean those up."Hmmm, surveillance that bears fruit of "inappropriate contact" with an underling -- sounds shady. As Lynn tells it someone was sent a month before his kissy-kissy incident to effectively take control of his operation. So he was effectively fired before he was fired. As you probably know, this is just another example of Wal-Mart's culture of corporate impunity.
It was abundantly clear to Lynn that Violim was out to get him. Lynn says that soon after his arrival in Costa Rica, Violim took away his key to the office and changed the alarm codes, denied his requests for security when he traveled in the field, and was furious when Lynn went over his head to tell Bentonville that he would not travel without security to Colombia. The tipping point may well have come at a meeting in Costa Rica that April with Mike Duke, then Wal-Mart's executive vice president for administration and today its vice chairman (and possible successor to CEO H. Lee Scott). Lynn was kept out of most of the meeting, but at the end of the day he was allowed to give a PowerPoint presentation on the condition of area factories. When he was done, Lynn recalls, Duke asked him what grade he would give Wal-Mart on its factory-certification program. "I said, 'C-minus or D-plus.' I didn't realize what a surprise this would be to everybody."
As soon as the meeting was done, Lynn says, he was taken aside by Violim and Peter Allison, who was managing director of Wal-Mart's global-procurement division. "I was told, 'You don't tell a man like Mike Duke something like that.' I had never before in my career been told to lie."
Lynn's career at Wal-Mart was just about done. The following week, Violim sent Lynn and Martha Bolanos, a co-worker who reported to Lynn, to Guatemala for another inspection tour. Lynn had been repeatedly assured that Wal-Mart would provide security on this trip, as it routinely does in potentially dangerous countries. When he arrived, though, there were no guards in evidence. What Wal-Mart had arranged for instead was an undercover surveillance team to shadow Lynn and Bolanos, and it documented virtually their every move.
Two weeks later, Lynn was summoned to a meeting with Violim and Andrea Cooper, the human-resources manager for the company's global-procurement division, who'd come down from Bentonville for the occasion. Escorted by Wal-Mart security guards, who stayed just outside the room, Lynn was accused of violating the company's fraternization policy. In Lynn's account, Violim informed him of the surveillance, yelled and cursed at him, and told him he could not leave the room without forfeiting his job unless he signed a statement acknowledging his relationship with Bolanos. The statement Lynn signed said that he and Bolanos had kissed -- and Lynn does acknowledge that "there was a kiss." The following day, Lynn was discharged. Bolanos, who remains in Central America and is unavailable for comment, was discharged, too.
The company says that Lynn's firing was solely the result of his interactions with Bolanos. "This is not a whistle-blower case," says Beth Keck. "He was terminated because he had inappropriate contact with a woman who directly reported to him."
It is useful to know a bit about current literary criticism to understand how different the Darwinist approach to literature is. Current literary theory tends to look at a text as the product of particular social conditions or, less often, as a network of references to other texts. (Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, famously observed that there was "nothing outside the text.") It often focuses on how the writer's and the reader's identities - straight, gay, female, male, black, white, colonizer or colonized - shape a particular narrative or its interpretation. Theorists sometimes regard science as simply another form of language or suspect that when scientists claim to speak for nature, they are disguising their own assertion of power. Literary Darwinism breaks with these tendencies. First, its goal is to study literature through biology - not politics or semiotics. Second, it takes as a given not that literature possesses its own truth or many truths but that it derives its truth from laws of nature.Personally, I think this is a great area for further research that could tell us alot about humans as social animals. Biologically speaking, why do we create stories? Why do we on average sympathize with some stories more than others? Why do literary archetypes span millennia and myriad cultures? Indeed, do certain aspects or themes have to be present for critics to accord "classic" status to the work? All good questions which could reveal the socio-biological continuum of emotion and experience from primitive man to modern man. (Sorry for being gender specific ladies.)
"The Literary Animal," the first scholarly anthology dedicated to Literary Darwinism, is to be published next month. It draws from the various fields that figure in Darwinian evolutionary studies, including contributions from evolutionary psychologists and biologists as well as literature professors. The essays consider the importance of the male-male bond in epics and romances, the battle of the sexes in Shakespeare and the motif in both Japanese and Western literature of men rejecting children whom their wives have conceived in adultery. "The Literary Animal" spans centuries and individual cultures with bravura, if not bravado...There is a circularity to an argument that uses texts about people to prove that people behave in human ways. (I'm reminded of the Robert Frost line: "Earth's the right place for love:/I don't know where it's likely to go better.") But Literary Darwinism has a second focus too. It also investigates why we read and write fiction. At the core of Literary Darwinism is the idea that we inherit many of the predispositions we deem to be cultural through our genes. How we behave has been subjected to the same fitness test as our bodies: if a bit of behavior has no purpose, then evolution - given enough time - may well dispense with it. So why, Literary Darwinists ask, do we make room for this strange exercise of the imagination? What are reading and writing fiction good for? In her essay "Reverse-Engineering Narrative," Michelle Scalise Sugiyama tries to simplify the question by picking stories apart, breaking them down into characters, settings, causalities and time frames ("the cognitive widgets and sprockets of storytelling") and asking what purpose each serves: how do they make us more adaptive, more capable of passing on our genes?
[H]e was in no realm a stellar student. He was a lousy linguist, and could neither dance nor fence. He struggled with music. (The last did not stop him from composing, badly.) He proved somewhat more adept at petty theft; his various scams include one on which "The Music Man" appears to have been based. At 15 he defected to Turin where - evidently Rousseau was one tough customer - two baptisms were required to make him a Roman Catholic. His first adventure with the church came complete with his first encounter with a male seducer. On the subjects of both sex and religion he remained squeamish. (He would reconvert in l754.)It took nearly 15 more years before Rousseau penned something that brought him publicity. The amazing thing in his eventual success was that Rousseau kept the fire inside flickering just enough to start a conflagration as he entered middle-age. After 40 he would write the works that made him a legend: Emile, The Social Contract, Discourse on Inequality, and his autobiographical Confessions. All this from a man that had nothing to show for himself at 25, but by the end of his life had written originally about future trends that are today dominate. As Schiff argues:
By the time he turned up in Paris in the early 1740's Rousseau had proved himself unfit as a diplomatic secretary, a monk's interpreter, a tutor, a bureaucrat. But along the way a funny thing happened. "To know nothing at almost 25, and to want to learn everything," he noted, "is to commit oneself to making the best use of one's time." On his own and between scams and scenes, he had begun to imbibe books.
Social inequality, the will of the people, inalienable rights were meaningless concepts when Rousseau began ranting about them. Imagination was out of fashion; he was tiptoeing around the as-yet-undiscovered unconscious. He advocated idleness in the age of Adam Smith. If he suffered for being so much out of step with his own century, he can too easily be overlooked in ours. Without founding a school - it would have been inappropriate - Rousseau stands squarely if unsystematically at the root of democracy, autobiography, Romanticism, child-centered education, even psychoanalysis.Before there was even a United States, Rousseau in effect lived the American Dream due to a light that couldn't be stamped out. And this is apt, considering his philosophy had a great impact on the Founding Fathers, particularly Jefferson.
Lincoln's law partner, W.H. Herndon, once observed that Lincoln "crushed the unreal, the inexact, the hollow, and the sham." Lincoln's "fault, if any," Herndon said, "was that he saw things less than they really were." What Herndon is describing here, Shenk says, seems similar to what psychologists term "depressive realism": the idea that depression can stem from fundamentally accurate perceptions—a worldview that, in some situations, can be an advantage.Maloney then reviews a letter by F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter where the author describes "depressive realism," a bit more poetically:
Make time, Fitzgerald wrote, "to form what, for lack of a better phrase, I might call the wise and tragic sense of life." He went on:As Maloney writes the debate here is whether depression is a well-spring of creativity for those afflicted and just possibly an insight into the way things really are or simply a disease that needs to be wiped out. As the article reports, over 1 million people ends their own lives each year. Yet the question remains, would Hemingway or Camus or Van Gogh have created the works they did without the inspiration of that dark angel, depression. I don't know.By this I mean the thing that lies behind all great careers, from Shakespeare's to Abraham Lincoln's, and as far back as there are books to read—the sense that life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat, and that the redeeming things are not "happiness and pleasure" but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.
In the case of Iraq, Scowcroft was incensed by Saddam’s violation of an international border; he did not believe that Saddam’s treatment of his own citizens merited military intervention. A month into the war, Bush, in public comments, encouraged Iraq’s defeated military, and also its civilian population, to “take matters into [their] own hands” and to rise up against Saddam. “Here’s where we fell down,” Robert Gates said recently. “It was our hope that the magnitude of the defeat would lead the Iraqi generals to throw Saddam out, but we didn’t anticipate those uprisings. When the Kurds and the Shiites rose up, Saddam won back his generals. We speculated that Saddam ‘warned’ his generals that, without him, they could not control the uprising, and the country would disintegrate.” Gates, who went on to serve as director of the C.I.A. from 1991 to 1993, argued that the President never intended to provoke a popular rebellion. “When the President talked about the Iraqis solving the problem, he was absolutely not urging the Kurds and the Shiites to do it. He was talking about the generals taking him out.” In the book that Scowcroft wrote with the elder Bush, a passage about the uprising said, “It is true that we hoped Saddam would be toppled. But we never thought that could be done by anyone outside the military and never tried to incite the general population. It is stretching the point to imagine that a routine speech in Washington would have gotten to the Iraqi malcontents and have been the motivation for the subsequent actions of the Shiites and Kurds.” In Wolfowitz’s view, Scowcroft, “by overestimating the risk of supporting the rebellions that the U.S. had encouraged, bequeathed to George W. Bush a much more complicated situation ten years later.”And there you have it. The realists simply wanted a cosmetic change in Iraq. As long as an internal coup replaced Hussein with another strongman then the U.S.'s strategic interests -- uninterrupted access to and control over oil -- would be secure. Wolfowitz's position was open to the possibility of chaotic change in the region and that U.S. immediate interests might be harmed by the uprising against Hussein. But the realists won, and now the U.S. -- not without hypocrisy or their eyes on Iraqi oil -- is doing what should have been done over a decade ago.
Many of last month's church screenings were followed by an altar call for born-again conversions and fund-raising (cause nothing says "No" to the devil than a rectory stashed with cash.) Mr. Lalonde [the film's producer] said proudly that at a screening for about 900 people at a Costa Mesa, Calif., church on Friday night, "11 people became Christians after the film."No, I'm sorry, Christians cannot shed light onto the world's darkness. If you believe hurricanes are anything more than meteorological events then, I'm sorry, you're ignorant. Besides, if they are heaven sent, then you contradict your whole hypothesis that God is all-loving. And murder is a human choice, nothing more. God and his little red friend don't function into the equation at all, unless that is you're one of those moral midgets that displace moral responsibility by claiming one of these imaginative beings told you to commit your heinous act.
At a screening at an East Hollywood church, audience members said they had been inspired by the film. "It emotionally touched me," said Yolanda Figueroa, wiping away tears after the film. "It's scary for me, because I have kids. I do believe we're living this already - with the hurricanes, and murder. We live in a world that is dark. And Christians can shed some light."
The [National Geographic] article says the current H5N1 virus that is killing poultry and a few people in Asia could be the next global pandemic it if gains the ability to quickly spread from person to person. But here's the incredible part. It is estimated that deaths from such a widespread pandemic could range from a conservative "7.4 million to an apocalyptic 180 million to 360 million." Yes, you read it correctly�180 to 360 MILLION.I love how the author is practically rooting for its spread, "Apocalypse indeed!" -- what love for humanity. Douchebag indeed!
According to experts, a virus today would move twice as fast as in 1918 due to rapid means of travel. This rapid spread of the virus would severely limit the time to stem with tide with a vaccine. Even during the pandemic in 1968 that lasted 342 days, the flu moved more slowly. It is estimated a flu virus today would spread twice as fast to the world's major cities as the flu pandemic of 1968.
If the Rapture were to happen soon, a virus such as the bird flu could be one of the apocalyptic plagues God uses to bring judgment on the Earth. It's just a matter of time. The Rapture will come, and then the great events of the end times, including plagues and pestilence, will begin to unfold.
Make sure you're ready. Trust in Christ and submit your life to him each day.
It is commonly heard here that the public would be willing to endure sanctions and international isolation if the government were in trouble for its stand on the Palestinian cause or for its positions on Iraq, but not over the Hariri affair. That was evidenced Tuesday when the authorities tried to organize a sit-in outside the United States Embassy. They hung flags, set up speakers and blared music. A few hundred people showed up at first, but the crowd quickly started to thin. Security agents were seen ordering young people to stay put as they tried to walk off. (my itl.)In the interest of democracy, I can only hope Assad will continue to be a barrier to inquiries into the Hariri assassination of which a U.N. report implicated Syrian involvement. If he's smart, he'll cooperate as much as possible, because if sanctions are brought against Syria for noncooperation in the inquiry into Hariri's assassination, the public won't be too happy with Assad.
Realism of the Scowcroft sort presided over the Iran-Iraq war with its horrific casualties and watched indifferently as genocide was enacted in northern Iraq. It allowed despots free rein from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and then goggled when this gave birth to the Taliban and al-Qaida. If this was "fifty years of peace," then it really was time to give war a chance.You may agree with this or not, but I think he's essentially correct. You can't bemoan American foreign policy being smitten with dictators for "reasons of stablity" that in a very real sense create the preconditions for terrorism and all its externalities and then make the point that we should coddle despots like Hussein because of the chaos it will reap if we overthrow him. What this reflects is that person's inability to even imagine American power being used constructively for beneficial ends. We live in a world where force matters, isn't it good that at least this time, American force was on the side of the Kurds, a true liberation army, and the beaten bloody Shias of the south.
Inside a stuffy, windowless room here, veterans of the 2004 Bush and Kerry presidential campaigns sit, stand and pace around six plastic folding tables. Open containers of pistachio nuts and tropical trail mix compete for space with laptops and BlackBerries. CNN flickers on a television in the corner.Think class warfare is an anachronistic term mingled in red and black revolutionary fantasies? Think again. The only difference between class warfare by conservatives and by the liberal-left is that corporate America, economic neoliberals, and the right-wing are more effective in relaying their message in gooey patriarchal tones or by simply scaring the ever loving shit out of workers and consumers alike through the loss of jobs or retail price hikes.
The phone rings, and a 20-something woman answers. "Turn on Fox," she yells, running up to the TV with a notepad. "This could be important."
A scene from a campaign war room? Well, sort of. It is a war room inside the headquarters of Wal-Mart, the giant discount retailer that hopes to sell a new, improved image to reluctant consumers.
Wal-Mart is taking a page from the modern political playbook. Under fire from well-organized opponents who have hammered the retailer with criticisms of its wages, health insurance and treatment of workers, Wal-Mart has quietly recruited former presidential advisers, including Michael K. Deaver, who was Ronald Reagan's image-meister, and Leslie Dach, one of Bill Clinton's media consultants, to set up a rapid-response public relations team in Arkansas.
When small-business owners or union officials - also employing political operatives from past campaigns - criticize the company, the war room swings into action with press releases, phone calls to reporters and instant Web postings.
One target of the effort are "swing voters," or consumers who have not soured on Wal-Mart. The new approach appears to reflect a fear that Wal-Mart's critics are alienating the very consumers it needs to keep growing, especially middle-income Americans motivated not just by price, but by image.